LOS ANGELES — When Kenny Jenson beat Steven Duggar to end the Los Angeles Dodgers’ fifth consecutive win and their major league-leading archers win, it was hard to remember how shaky the defending champions looked last week.
The Dodgers stumbled home last Thursday after being swept away by San Diego, and they weren’t immediately impressed by the Cubs.
Five mostly spectacular games later, Los Angeles was revived, refocused and back on a roll.
Max Munsey homed his bobblehead night, Walker Buehler hit three balls in the seventh inning and the Dodgers rolled a two-game series between the NL’s top two teams with a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Chris Taylor took a two-run single in the first innings for the Dodgers, who chased down legendary ace Kevin Gossman (8-2) after five innings and took the win despite scoring just three hits all night.
“It started off very foggy, homestand, but we finished really well,” said manager Dave Roberts. “The guys responded really well from that last series in San Diego, with no hits. I think Gossman is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the team’s offense was as good as any I’ve seen it.”
Jensen allowed two baserunners to open the ninth, but became stronger within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Giants (50-29) to save his 20th as Los Angeles (49–31).
Buehler (8-1) scored seven runs and returned to his usual dominating self on his first start to not allow an earned run since his first loss since September 2019. Buehler’s franchise begins a record-tying streak of 23 consecutive regular seasons. The Cubs ended without a loss last Thursday in a combined no-hitter.
“Over the years, it’s always been a big thing for us (that) we can pick up the pace and beat good teams, and I think we did that for five games,” Buehler said. “It’s a step forward for us. We don’t think we’re playing to our potential every night, and five out of six, that’s what we want to do, especially against teams like that.”
Duggar had an RBI double in seventh for the Giants, who have lost three straight for the first time since the Dodgers swept him on May 21-23. That was also the last time the Giants lost a series 7-0-3 in their ensuing 10.
“It means we have to play better baseball against the best teams,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “We have that. We’ve seen it in the past. We’ve got more games with the Dodgers, and we have to play better against them.”
Munsey hit his 17th homer straight center in third, connecting the night the Dodgers handed a bobblehead doll in memory of their famous homer at McCove Cove in June 2019. Munsey angers Madison Bumgarner as she runs around the bases, and the two’s verbal fight ends with Muncy telling the former Giants ace to “get it out to sea!”
Muncie made it to both games of the series. The slugging first baseman has seven homers in nine matches against the Giants this season.
“He’s clearly an established hitter and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Gossman said. “To be honest, I got a lot tonight and should have given more than three runs. The order just wasn’t there. “
Gossmann did not play six innings for only the third time in the entire season, while losing his second in four starts. He dropped three hits and five walks, his ERA rising to 1.68 after his first back-to-back starts without a win since mid-April.
The Dodgers loaded the base without a hit against Gossman in the first inning, before Taylor drove down the right field line.
Buehler has made it through six innings in all of his 16 starts, and only a two-out error from shortstop Gavin Lux kept him from finishing seven innings this season for the seventh time. He threw a career-high 113 pitches, while remaining unbeaten in 10 career appearances against the Giants, his career falling to 2.17 against the Era LA fanatics.
KENLY KILLIN IT
After four dismissals from Joe Kelly, Janssen persevered through a rocky ninth to sustain his impressive month. The Dodgers’ one-time struggler went close 8-for-8 to save chances in June and conceded no runs in 11 games.
Though he hit Alex Dickerson and walked past Buster Posey to open the ninth, Jensen got two strikeouts and a popup.
Giants: RF Mike Touchman was shaken by a fall after his exceptional running catch on Buehler Drive in the second innings. Tauchman eventually came out in fourth. “It just got progressively worse,” Kapler said. … Mike Yastrzemsky did not play on Monday after fouling a ball with his shin.
Dodgers: The team has not decided whether SS Corey Seeger will travel this week. The World Series MVP has been out since May 15 with a broken arm, and it’s not going to heal quickly.
Giants: Johnny Couto (6-3, 3.63 ERA) takes the mound Thursday in Arizona.
Dodgers: After a traveling day, Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 2.77 ERA) takes the mound Friday in Washington to open a four-game series between the last two World Series champions.
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